Weather.com says it’s 71 degrees in New York right now (i.e., 10 am). That’s a lie. It feels like the Guatemalan lowlands — humid, sticky air — in the rainy season. And I’ve left my umbrella at home. Last night the E train wasn’t running again, the L train crawled along as usual, and I waited 15 or 16 minutes for the G train a little after 11 pm. There’s no air to speak of on the platforms, and more than a few Brooklyn stops offer a faint aroma of urine to the weary traveller.
It goes without saying this is what most of us are looking for in our lives — weeds growing through cracked sidewalks, sporadic rainshowers, sticky air, crack dens, interminable late-night waiting on subway platforms and the smell of piss.
This morning I was walking Joey, my son’s dog, around the intersection of Hart Street and Tompkins Avenue. It’s as if somebody walked around with a huge bag of paper-product garbage — empty coffee cups, fast-food wrappers, newspaper shreds, used toilet paper — are just threw it around until every square yard was littered. What kind of people live like this? I’ve been to Europe and Africa and Mexico and in every corner of this country, and this is easily the scuzziest neighborhood I’ve ever seen or smelled.
Last night I was walking by a group of young guys on a stoop — it was around 12:30 am — and they were all eyeballing me and the camera around my neck, etc. I was thinking “they’re the lions and I’m the wildebeest, and they’re trying to detect if I’m old or weak enough to be taken down.”
I’m moving to a new crib if I can on Sunday or Monday. I’ve had it with Bed-Stuy. And maybe, just maybe, New York can deliver on some traditional fall weather. I remember what late September used to feel like in the tristate area. You could wear sweaters in the evening. Now it’s Panama City.
Living in the cheaper areas of New York City isn’t really “living” — it’s making do as best you can, getting along, surviving, toughing it out. With occasional piles of dogshit on the sidewalk.
And yet today I’ll be attending a luncheon on east 58th Street, thrown by the Hamptons Film Festival and Frank P.R. And then i’ll attend a screening of Tahrir at the Walter Reade theatre at 3:15 pm. And maybe just for fun I’ll catch an 8:30 pm showing of Thief (i.e., part of the Tuesday Weld festival) at the same venue. So it’s not all bad.